The Righetti Warriors face a long road trip Friday when they open the CIF Southern Section Division 8 football playoffs.

The Warriors won’t be taking a caravan of cars from Santa Maria Nissan/Mazda for the 180-mile trek to Antelope Valley High School.

“We’re going by stagecoach,” said Righetti head coach Ed Herrmann Thursday night at the dealership’s showroom.

The team is actually taking a chartered coach for the long ride inland.

But they did have their pre-game kickoff party and meal at the auto dealership Thursday evening.

And there was another important reason for the pizza and submarine sandwich meal.

It gave the Renfrow Auto Group, the owners of Santa Maria Nissan/Mazda and Santa Maria Ford/Lincoln, the opportunity to honor the football Warriors and make a special presentation to the Righetti athletic department.

They presented the high school with a check for $9,700.

“The money will allow Righetti to buy a new digital scoreboard for the school’s gymnasium,” said Ryan Renfrow, the auto group’s Controller, who is the third generation of Renfrow’s selling cars and trucks in Santa Maria. “This donation is important to us especially with us being a family owned dealership. It’s another chance for us to give back to our community.”

“The Renfrow family has a great connection to the community and they’ve been really good to Righetti,” said Righetti Athletic Director Kevin Barbarick. “This is great for the kids to see a local business supporting us.”

Martin Solano joined Barbarick and Renfrow for the check presentation.

“Martin played basketball for me the first year I coached at Righetti,” said Barbarick. “Now he’s the General Sales Manager here at Nissan/Mazda and his son Jacob is a senior playing both football and basketball for us.”

“During the season, we have a kickoff party and barbecue every Thursday night at someone’s house,” said Solano. “We held one at our house earlier in the season — there are usually a half dozen of Jacob’s teammates hanging around our house, anyway — so we thought it would be a good idea to host this week’s party at the auto dealership. It’s a fun night and we all get to wish the kids good luck in the playoffs.”

The Solanos are Warriors through and through. Martin met his wife DeeDee at Righetti where she was a cheerleader, and their 12-year-old basketball, volleyball and soccer-playing daughter Jasmine will be heading to the Orcutt campus in a few short years.

“That’s what this is all about — family,” said Solano. “The parents and relatives all support the Righetti staff and players. The people at our dealership also support Righetti — it really is all about family.”

“It was nice that Jacob’s dad was able to host this week’s pre-game meal at work,” said Herrmann. “And we’re getting a donation which is huge.”

The scoreboard wasn’t the only thing getting everyone was talking about.

Friday’s game at Antelope Valley also had everyone excited.

“We’re off to the high desert,” said Barbarick. “This will be a great experience for the guys. They’ve worked so hard to get here. It’s been a great ride and we all want to keep it going.”

“This is special — enjoy the moment,” Herrmann said to his team. “So many people would love to be in your shoes. This is a big trip. Let’s finish the job and come back here next week for another pre-game party. Go Warriors.”

If you have a story idea or photos that you would like to share, you can email Elliott Stern or connect with him on Twitter @SMTSidelines

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Senior Sports Reporter